Kelly Nolan of the Wall Street Journal reported today that property-tax revenues have been off for two consecutive quarters. When you look at the numbers, though, you can see it’s not really off by that much, especially given the state of home prices. Here is the change in the data reported by the U.S. Census Bureau:
|Reporting period||$ billions|
|2011 1st Quarter||$ 113|
|2010 1st Quarter||$ 115|
|2010 4th Quarter||$ 177|
|2009 4th Quarter||$ 182|
These are not enormous drops in property-tax collections in light of the collapse of the housing market. The chart above is a plot of median home prices against property-tax collections. As you can see, tax collections continued climbing even as housing prices were falling off a cliff.
I think it’s safe to say that municipalities are doing quite well in collecting property taxes. Everybody and every public entity must tighten their belt; there is less and less to go around.